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Posts Tagged ‘Peryer’

Symbols

Recently I got around to arranging a photo shoot as I needed a picture to send out with my bio details for work. It’s taken months for me to get around to this as a) I am the least photogenic person in the universe, possibly because b) I hate getting my photo taken.

Anyway a photographer whose work I really like, Ferg Campbell, happens to live locally so he and his is able assistant Paul Le Comte came by and did their best  to capture me on film. I say did THEIR best because I inadvertently did my best to squint, slouch and look angry.

Part of the deal though was to recreate a ‘famous’ New Zealand photograph. I hope that the original photographer takes this as a compliment or at least doesn’t cringe.

Pauline and Florence

Pauline and Florence (2013) Ferg Campbell [click pic for larger image]. Ferg created a B&W version too but I like this one.

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Self-portrait with rooster. (1977) Peter Peryer

I love the symbolism that the blurb on the Govett Brewster page attributes to this photo

Self-portrait with Rooster has a brooding anxiety that is offset by a touch of the theatrical. Man and rooster look equally ill at ease. With an injured expression, Peryer clasps the rooster to his chest protectively. Roosters, with their associations of virility and machismo, are usually depicted strutting proudly, displaying glossy plumage. The rooster that Peryer clutches so anxiously seems rather bedraggled. As well as their popular association with male sexual potency, roosters also suggest the Biblical story of St Peter. When Jesus was arrested, St Peter escaped arrest himself by fearfully denying his relationship with Christ :before the cock crowed” as Christ had predicted he would. The two Peters, photographer and saint, are conflated into a tragic-comic figure who stands, back against the wall, as if before a firing squad, glaring anxiously down the camera’s lens.

As for my photo, I am a midwife and I am holding a hen. Hens lay eggs, eggs are fertility symbols. As an aside, Saint Bridget is the patron saint of midwives and poultry farmers (and lots of other stuff). I’ve recently found out that her feast day is my birthday. You know…whatever.

And yes we got a few great shots that I can send out with my work bio, but I am really tempted just to go with the chook photo.

NB – all my best wishes and love to Peter.

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A recent post from Peter Peryer along with my visit to the Wayne Barrar show at DPAG, has got me thinking again about the nature of photography as art.

In my own mind photography is art. Hanging about in a gallery stock room today with Laurence Aberhart and Ben Cauchi works just reiterated this to me. Peryer’s work is certainly art.

So why do I have more trouble in the equally as beautiful photos of Ans Westra and some of  Wayne Barrar‘s work? I see these as a possibly a cross into documentary and photo journalism. Marti Friedlander perhaps spans this? Perhaps there is no difference at all.

My reaction to art is often emotional. Photography as an art form is the perfect illustration of art being a way of seeing the world through another’s eyes.  Maybe my issue with more documentary type photos is that it is just what my eye might see, the more artistic photography is something I might never see for myself…I am not sure if that makes any sense. Also all the artists I have mentioned have a great range and there is no defining them really.

I was thinking about Anne Noble’s “In the Presence of Angels” series last week too. I like the blurring of definitions and realities there. Maybe this series appeals because in my loud and busy life, the apparent calm and simple quiet of the convent seems very desirable.


Anne Noble. The Walled Garden of the Enclosure. 1989. silver gelatin print

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I heard Kim Hill’s interview with Peter Peryer last Saturday morning (audio here) and she kept asking him why?, why? does he take these photos. I’ve been thinking on this and wonder, does it even matter? Perhaps “What?” is the more relevant question.

In recent discussions about good/bad art some one said “What is the artist trying to do and do they achieve that?” which seems a more basic question. But do we even need to know that?

Kim Hill seemed concerned about why Peryer would photograph this chicken. I am glad he did – for it is unlikely I would see a chicken in this way. As I’ve said before a favourite photo is of whitebait but I am also very fond of this.

In art photography it has always seemed to me that the photographs enable me to see through another’s eyes. This gives me a hugely varied outlook – a new way of seeing. What might be interesting (and it may have been done) is to ask some top photographers to photograph the same thing or perhaps give them a theme. The variety that would come back would be amazing – I would expect.

In fact doesn’t all art provide us with another person’s take on the world? I am doing my best to get to Christchurch at the moment* so I can see the Christchurch Art Gallery’s “Big 3” shows – Ronnie Van Hout, Seraphine Pick and et al. These three contemporary New Zealand artists (and collectives) illustrate their world so different they are perfect examples of my point.

I have been taking photos lately of local scenes that artists such as McCahon have painted.  Even taking ‘artistic license’ into account, its interesting to me how differently these painters have seen the landscape – recognisable but not…I wonder if they were trying to make sense of their world by interpretation, as I am.

milhouse-van-hout
Milhouse Van Hout(en) – a distant relative of Ronnie’s (because I am trying to be good about not nicking images off the interwebs of artists’ work)

*Any donations towards travel expenses happily accepted

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I have been busily scattered and the health finally seems on the improve. Lots of interesting and quirky things about.

Saw this poem I Write in the Laundromat over at Homepaddock blog and liked it very much. It sort of ties in to an article I have been analysing for my studies – The Per/son Authorised: Married Women’s Autobiography and the Death of the Author, 1882 & 1992 by Tracey Slaughter around the Edmond family auto/biographies, which has been deeply challenging.

I also spotted this book about Maori Architecture on Beatties Book Blog which looks excellent. I was initially attracted by the cover photo of one of my favourite buildings.

Peter Peryer is blogging more regularly again which is great. I liked today’s rose photo – although personally I prefer Bantry Bay.

Have been having some great and some very inane conversations over at twitter with myself and other people (follow me @artandmylife). Great place for working out ideas. Don’t expect high level stuff from me though.

Am trying to think outside the box for employment options at the moment. Haven’t got very far though.

I am breaking my #1 blogging rule. My 6-year-old’s artwork appears on the Dunedin Art Gallery website – here (the brown owl at the top)

Finally, here is a photo I took in an alley near the Art Gallery.

cansdun
Campbell’s Soup. P Dawson (2009)

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Goodbye Mr Plischke

As I’ve mentioned before when I was living near Wellington, one of my projects was to find and hopefully have a look inside some Plischke houses. I never did hunt down Evelyn and Fredrick Page’s Waikanae home. I had a vague idea where it was but I ran out of time to do more investigation although I was encouraged after my Angus breakthrough.

There was also the Giles house, only a few blocks from where I was living on the Kapiti Coast. It was nice to see that externally it was being looked after in the fashion of the original design but because I discivered that the owner was a ‘well know person’ I never got up the nerve to ask to see it. I bumped into him a few times in local shops etc but I was too intimdated to talk – foolish perhaps?

Last year at the time we were likely to be moving to Palmerston North, we found a house for sale in Savage Crescent a few houses down from where I’d lived previously. A gentrified former state housing precinct, Plsichke was on the design team, and it would have been the close to owning a ‘real’ Plischke house.

There are very few Plischke houses in the South Island – in fact I only know of one, Henderson House in Alexandra. I had intended to visit there while Peter Peryer was there on his year long residence but my relocation and the end of his time there didn’t really coincide. I may bug the next artist in residence.

Maybe I should just buy this book and leave it at that. Maybe its just not meant to be and it is indeed  ‘Goodbye Mr Plischke’.

ernst_plischke

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Sorry…

When I started this blog, I really wanted to avoid cute stories about my kids or posting their artwork or being boring about my domestic activities. I don’t think I’ve done too badly on the kid front, even when they have done wonderful renditions of things they have seen.  The domestica perhaps not so much. maybe I should take a leaf out of The Paint and Bake‘s book and just go with it and I did make some awesome rhubarb muffins today.

Anyway, I also wanted to avoid posting my own art or photos simply out embarrassment. However today I captured something interesting with my new camera – proving that carrying it with me all the time is working out.

So here I am going all Peter Peryer on you.

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Roadmap – P Dawson 2009

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Serve the servant

I have been having a discussion on various fronts in the last few days about artists older work compared to their new work.

Immediately on this topic I think of Jackson Pollock when he changed direction away from drip paintings. As he had a huge reputation , the new art was still in demand from collectors, what they really wanted and what the critics seemed more comfortable with, was the “splattered” ones. Artists (I am told) mostly hate their new work not being as favoured as the old – is that what happened to Pollock?.

pollockeaster
Jackson Pollock. Easter and the Totem (1953)

So, an artist you can keep churning out what people expect or demand (and if you are lucky will pay the big $$ for) but at a guess I would say that would not be ultimately satisfying. To me, art is a constant exploration and evolution, and I would expect change and experimentation from artists. I have heard comments about artists “going off” or “losing their way” and I wonder – are these failed experiments or unfamiliar avenues being explored? Or are we just not so comfortable with change.

Another thing occurred to me. I have a penchant for 1970s art and have little idea why. When I see visual art from this period I am more often than not taken with it, later work takes more figuring out. As Peter Peryer said when he talked through the photographs at his Studio Show – “there is something going on in this picture” (an example here). In 1970s work I usually think I know what’s going on, with newer art I often have to work harder at it.

During these debates someoneiknow quoted this to me (from Nirvana):

Teenage angst has paid off well
Now Im bored and old
Self-appointed judges judge
More than they have sold

Even though I am a bit of cynic, I hope that isn’t true in regard to art, especially as I could be considered a “self appointment judge“.

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